News from Berlin

German Foreign Minister travels to Baku and Yerevan

October 27th, 2014
20141024_German Foreign Minister travels to Baku and Yerevan .jpg
News from Berlin – German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid an official visit to Baku, Azerbaijan on October 22 and Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, on October 23. The aim of the trip was to focus on bilateral relations between Germany and the two countries and also hold talks about Armenia and Azerbaijan’s movement towards the European Union.

Steinmeier met with President Ilham Aliyev and Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in Azerbaijan. Steinmeier wanted to see the situation for himself in order to establish how political and economic cooperation could be developed in the future. According to the German Federal Foreign Office, Azerbaijan has close connections to the European Union, for instance with the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement as well as the Strategic Energy Partnership.

He met with President Serzh Sargsyan and his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian a day later in Yerevan. His first official visit to Armenia was aimed to further intensify Armenian – German political dialogue and enhance friendly relations. President Sargsyan stated that Germany is a friend and “Armenia’s vital partner and frequent reciprocal visits and contacts at various levels are a good stimulus to developing interstate relations.” Furthermore he continued to say that since establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries, Armenia and Germany have expanded and strengthened their cooperation through six dozen agreements which have elevated interstate relations to a qualitatively new level.

Germany supports Armenia as it moves closer towards the European Union and NATO and also further developments its political and economic relations with the EU. Steinmeier also touched on some difficult topics, such as the Nagorny Karabakh conflict that has been dragging on for more than two decades. The ceasefire in the conflict, over the region of Nagorny Karabakh between Azerbaijan and Armenia, has been frequently violated in recent months but hasn’t had enough attention due to the crisis in Ukraine. Germany and the European Union urge Azerbaijan and Armenian authorities to find a peaceful solution to end the conflict. Ethnic Armenians broke away from Azerbaijan with the help of Armenian Government - the war claimed around 30,000 lives between 1991 and 1994.

During his time in Yerevan Steinmeier also visited Tsitsernakaberd, an Armenian Genocide Memorial, and offered a moment of silence to victims of the genocide after laying a wreath. Foreign Minister Nalbandian and the Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Hayk Demoyan, accompanied him to the memorial. Prior to this, the German Foreign Minister spoke to Armenians and Turks on Berlin’s experience in its post-war reconciliation, to help the two countries find reconciliation and peace almost a century after the Armenian Genocide.

News from Berlin – Berlin Global